I came across this comment on MacInTouch:
iLife 09’s “killer application” has to be Garage Band’s Artist Lessons. Not because it’s a cool way to learn music. Nor because it is another revenue stream for Apple.
It’s an attempt by Apple to circumvent the music industry labels. iTunes is a preferred gateway to new music for many consumers already. But in order to get that music Apple is still having to use the intermediaries who own the distribution rights to those tracks.
Now Apple is creating a comprehensive 3-way link between the fan, the artist and Apple. At some point the traditional distribution medium and corporate apparatus will become moot under this arrangement as the artists will less and less rely on a label and can have the ability to interact with fans at a truly individual and personal level.
Future artists will get their exposure directly via portals like iTunes, and with features like Artist Lessons can add value to the experience, something that entirely bypasses the current distribution and promotion system.
It’s a brilliant end-run against the established industry. Certainly it won’t work for some genres in the teaser form we saw at the keynote, but it definitely opens up interesting possibilities when fans can interact directly with artists with an agnostic technical enabler like Apple getting a cut of the transaction. Labels will increasingly see new artists bypass their system for this more direct interaction and will become reliant on legacy catalogues alone. They’ll lose clout over iTunes marketing and distribution techniques and costs. Nothing value added from the established industry has worked since the music video revolution almost 20 years ago. Artists Lessons and derivatives have the potential to be just as transcending. It has that mass market populist streak to it that goes to the heart of Apple’s design fort?.
In its current form the product needs work to get beyond Apple’s often overly cute aesthetic sterility (sex, drugs, and Fogerty’s “bright” chords?) but it is nevertheless strategically innovative.